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The easiest way for an insurer to reach affluent African-American prospects is to assume theyll see the same newspaper ads and TV commercials everyone else sees.

The best way is sending agents out into the community to meet the people.

The third way, marketing experts say, is to supplement general advertising campaigns and grassroots efforts with media campaigns focusing on the niche radio stations, television channels and print publications that African-American prospects really care about.

The Securities Industry Association, New York, addresses this topic in a long, detailed report on its Web site, at http://www.sia.com, that could serve as a starting point for any financial services company wanting to do more to sell to African-Americans.

Financial services companies should keep in mind that African-American consumers want to see themselves in advertisements, to know that they are being invited to buy the products or services advertised, the SIA says.

“Corporations should look at their media usage with a view toward utilizing minority talent in their advertisements as well as placing ads in media that this community trusts,” the SIA says.

Financial services firms seem to be heeding that advice.

The Publishers Information Bureau, New York, reports that total spending on financial, insurance and real estate advertising in national magazines was down 26% for the first four months of the year. But ad revenue at Black Enterprise, the biggest African-American-oriented business magazine, was down only 2.8%, according to PIB.

Black Enterprise is particularly aggressive at pursuing life insurers and other financial services companies.

The publisher, Earl G. Graves Ltd., Chicago, holds a “ski challenge” each Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend with AXA Advisors, a unit of AXA, Paris.

The company asked specifically about insurance ownership when it conducted its 1998 readership survey, and it found readers households owned individual or family life insurance with an average face value of $227,000.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, June 10, 2002. Copyright 2002 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.